Landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) need global support to turn around their social and economic fortunes to achieve sustainable development in line with the goals of the Vienna Programme of Action (VPoA).
A High-level Africa Regional Review of the Vienna Programme of Action for the Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014–2024 which ended in Gaborone, Botswana, concluded that African LLDCs should not be left behind in attaining sustainable development.
Speaking at the closure of a two day meeting convened in preparation of the Third United Nations Conference on LLDCs to be held in 2024, Botswana’s Acting Minister of Trade, Mabuse Pule said LLDCs should be part of an inclusive and sustainable future. He urged that current partnerships between LLDCs and transit countries should be further strengthened.
“I implore the transit countries, development partners, relevant UN agencies and other organizations to continue this pact in the lead up to the 3rd UN Conference on LLDCs. We really need to join forces to ensure that no LLDCs are left behind as we strive towards a future that is inclusive, sustainable and prosperous for all in the next decade,” said Mr. Pule.
Addressing the same meeting, Mr. Francis Ikome, Chief, Regional Integration Section in the Regional Integration and Trade Division at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), said the high participation of LLDCs at the review meeting underscored the importance attached to challenges and realities faced by the 16 African landlocked countries.
The two-day meeting held under the theme, “From Vienna to Kigali: towards a new decade of partnerships for a transformative Programme of Action for LLDCs’ reviewed the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action in Africa. It discussed achievements, constraints, emerging challenges and opportunities for achieving sustainable development and SDGs and Agenda 2063 in LLDCs.
Mr. Ikome noted that the meeting had shared available opportunities that should be leveraged by African LLDCs so they are not left behind in the march towards the SDGs and Agenda 2063.
Admitting that the review of the implementation of the VPoA indicated a mix of progress and some regress, Mr. Ikome said there are many commonalities among the LLDCs but more work needs to be done.
“There was an agreement that in as much as the situation appears so dire there is no cause for despair,” he said, remarking that many times crises herald opportunities and a rethink in needed actions.
“The ECA will continue to support African LLDCs with alternative means of financing because we know that Overseas Development Assistance and other forms of financing are drying up and our partners have challenges of their own and a means of implementation is key,” said Mr. Ikome, noting that Africa’s hosting of the 3rd UN Conference on LLDCs was a lifetime opportunity and an occasion for Africa to influence and shape outcomes to advance the interests of African LLDCs.
The regional review meeting adopted the Gaborone Outcome Document, which called for the acceleration of SDG implementation to take LLDCs out of prolonged crisis while committing to implementing action at the national, regional and global levels to accelerate progress on agreed policies, programmes and investments.
High Representative and Under-Secretary-General, Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing State, Rabab Fatima, commended the meeting for successfully articulating key priorities to inform the next Programme of Action in the Gaborone Outcome Document. She said LLDCs had made notable progress in airports, sea ports and railways but that more progress was needed in trade facilitation, structural economic transformation, export diversification and in improving connectivity.
LLDCs have faced the challenges of adverse impacts of climate change, multiple and overlapping of impacts of COVID 19, external debt and geopolitical tensions, Ms. Fatima noted.
“The combined impacts of these challenges have severely affected the progress on the implementation of the VPoA, 2030 Agenda and Africa’s own Agenda 2063,” said Ms. Fatima, highlighting that more than ever before it was imperative to develop “strategies and institution capacities within the LLDCs supported by their development partners to tackle these overlapping crises and embark on a resilience pathway to recovery and sustainable development.”
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